'CIA has recording of Saudi prince demanding Khashoggi be silenced'
November 23 2018 12:36 AM
Jamal Khashoggi
Jamal Khashoggi

Reuters Istanbul

*France to sanction 18 Saudi citizens over the killing
*Denmark suspends sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia

A Turkish newspaper reported on Thursday CIA director Gina Haspel signaled to Turkish officials last month that the agency had a recording of a call in which Saudi Arabia's crown prince gave instructions to "silence" Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Asked about the report, a Turkish official told Reuters he had no information about such a recording. Saudi Arabia has said Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman had no prior knowledge of Khashoggi's killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul six weeks ago.

When asked about the recording by reporters in Florida, US President Donald Trump said: "I don't want to talk about it. You'll have to ask them." The CIA declined to comment when asked about the report.

"There is talk of another recording," Hurriyet newspaper journalist Abdulkadir Selvi wrote in a column, saying the purported call took place between Prince Mohamed and his brother, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Washington.

"It is being said that CIA chief Gina Haspel indicated this during her visit to Turkey," he wrote, adding that they had discussed Khashoggi, a critic of the kingdom's de facto ruler.

"It is being said the crown prince gave orders to 'silence Jamal Khashoggi as soon as possible'," in a call which was monitored by the US agency, he said.

Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 in an operation that Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan has said was ordered by the highest level of Saudi leadership.

Trump said the CIA had not definitively concluded that the crown prince was responsible, and said he would stand by Saudi Arabia’s leadership because it was a key US ally.

The French foreign ministry said on Thursday that it would impose sanctions against 18 Saudi citizens over the killing of Khashoggi.

"These measures... aim to prohibit these individuals from entering national territory and the entire Schengen area" of Europe, the ministry said in a statement.

A report from Stockholm said Denmark was suspending the

approval of future weapons and military equipment sales to Saudi

Arabia, citing the murder of Khashoggi and the Gulf kingdom's role in the Yemen conflict.

Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen said the decision also included

so-called dual-use equipment, referring to civilian material that may

have military applications "and can be used to violate human rights," a Foreign Ministry statement said.

Meanwhile, Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman arrived in the United Arab Emirates on Thursday at the start of a tour of several Arab countries since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The prince, the country's de facto ruler, is also expected to participate in a G20 meeting in Buenos Aires at the end of the month which will be attended by leaders from the United States, Turkey and European countries.

King Salman asked his chosen heir, known in the West as MbS, to conduct the tour "based on his keenness to deepen the kingdom's ties regionally and internationally", the Saudi Press Agency reported.

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